The Perfect Picnic

Be a Picnic ProAugust is a great month to head to the park with a few friends and a basket full of fresh goodies. Here are some easy tips and tricks to crafting the best personal outdoor lunch lounge.

  • The venue. Bring a comfortable yet thin blanket to the park or beach incase there are no picnic tables. The thinness allows you to still feel and appreciate the natural earth beneath you but the comfort brings relaxation and a more chill atmosphere to your meal. Our Healthy Living Coordinator says bringing a tapestry with you can add a fun design to the atmosphere and is often a good size for groups because you want to make sure it’s large enough so everyone can fit and feel included! Pick a spot under a tree or umbrella if it’s a really sunny day and bring along a few items from a first aid kit for safety. A trash bag is a good idea to bring to stay environmentally friendly. basket
  • The snacks. Picnics are all about fresh finger foods and delicious snacks. Pack your treats in a basket or tote bag just before leaving so that temperature sensitive foods don’t spoil (2 hours is the magic time before food starts to go bad!). If you pack foods that aren’t going to spoil you can maintain your relaxed attitude by not having to worry about food safety. Remember to bring drinks to stay hydrated and refreshed. Don’t forget your essentials like napkins, plates and silverware. Here are some fun, healthy and safe picnic friendly foods: hard artisan cheeses and crackers, bread rolls, whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and dried meat like jerky, jams and jellies, peanut butter and recipes…yum.cucumbersandwiches
      • Tomato, Peach and Red Onion Salad (Serves 4)
        • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
        • 1 ripe peach, diced
        • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
        • 2 tablespoons olive oil
        • juice from half a lemon
        • salt and pepper
        • Combine everything in a large jar or plastic container. Seal the container and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Best made the day of.
      • Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade (Serves 8)
        • 8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
        • 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
        • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 5 tablespoons honey
        • 2 cups water
        • Combine ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
      • Cucumber Sandwiches (Serves 2)
        • 9 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute goat cheese)
        • 5 tablespoons sour cream
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
        • 3 tablespoons dried dill weed
        • Lettuce Leaves, romaine or iceberg recommended
        • 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced about 6 inches long
        • 2 thinned whole wheat bread slices
        • Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Spread over slices of bread. Lay lettuce leaf on top of spread.  Lay 3 to 4 cucumber slices onto lettuce. Sprinkle with dried dill. 
  • The entertainment. Plan a few fun outdoor friendly games for the day. Have some activities prepared that can be played in a group either lounging on the blanket or more active games to move around. Games like Heads up!, Apples to Apples or Uno can be fun for the whole family on the blanket or bring a book to relax and read. A volleyball or frisbee is an easy activity to toss around with a group by playing keep it up or just take a walk and enjoy the scenery. marbles.png

Market Mastery

A trip to your local Farmer’s Market in the Summer is a great way to involve the whole family in a fun and holistic healthy living activity! Delaware Farmer’s Markets sell inexpensive locally grown and in season produce as well as other market items like meats, eggs and cheeses from near by farms. As if the delicious local foods weren’t enough, many of the markets also have entertainment and activities that are fun for all ages. Music, crafts, Recipe Demos (shout out to UD Cooperative Extension), and there are even Kid’s Days. Click here for the Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide to find a market near you.

Delaware 4-H wants you to make the most of your market experience by following these three simple tips:

  • Know what’s in season.

When it comes to produce, looking for items that are in season will maximize the quality of the product and help minimize your cost.

Summer Seasonal Fruits

Sweet Summer fruits are a great way to refresh and cool off after a hot day outside. The bright colors also make them fun to eat and to add to salads with Summer Vegetables.

Summer Vegetables

  • Show up early or late.

The market will be less crowded at these times. We recommend arriving at the very start of the market to ensure the best selection of items or arriving later in the market for the best prices. Check the Farmer’s Market Guide (link is above) for times.

  • Plan your recipes ahead of time.

Having recipes in mind when you head to the market will make it easier to select items. Here are some delicious in season chef-developed and kid approved Summer recipes from the USDA.

Chick Peas and Tomatoes

Chicken Ratatouille

Spinach Egg Bake

Easy Zucchini Lasagna

Wild Veggie Mashup

Share your Farmer’s Market experience with us by posting to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #DE4H or #FarmDE

 

 

 

September is Hunger Awareness Month

Did you know?

In Delaware, 1 in 8 people struggles with hunger and in our country, 16 million youth aren’t getting the proper foods they need. Hunger + no food = poor nutrition. Poor nutrition is a very serious issue in youth because they need those vital nutrients to stay healthy so that they can grow and function at their full capacity during these crucial years.

Volunteering at the Delaware food bank is a good place to help those in need. Encourage your family to sign up to volunteer at the food bank once this month. It is located in Newark. Our Up for the Challenge program focuses on teaching youth about proper nutrition so they can make smart food choices when given options. Anyone 13 and over can become a Healthy Living Ambassador to help combat issues of hunger in our state.

For those that are in need, a good way to get cheap and healthy food is to visit a local farmer’s market. Buy only produce you think your family can eat in one week and freeze the rest or plan to come back to the market next week. Produce is great because they can often be used as snacks as well as in every meal of the day. Beans are a great and healthy source of protein and when in cans, are inexpensive and have a long shelf life. Yogurt is a great and cheap breakfast and snack option that youth tend to enjoy to help get in their dairy, and adding fresh fruit to it makes it a really nice sweet treat. Freezing whole grain breads is an easy way for them to last longer.

Take this month to learn how you can help combat hunger in your state!